News

Don’t let allergies take the spring out of your step – your pharmacy can help

Spring is the time of year that can really put a smile on your face. But as the temperature warms up, so does the risk of allergies such as hay fever. So to tie-in with Allergy Awareness Week (25 April – 1 May) the NHS is explaining what those that suffer can do to help themselves.

It is estimated that 21 million adults in the UK suffer from at least one allergy1, while asthma, rhinitis and eczema have trebled in the last 20 years.

Hay fever is one of the most common allergies and can make everyday life tough affecting social plans, emotional wellbeing and performance at work or school.

So, what’s the best way to cope with endless sneezing, streaming eyes, stuffy nose; persistent cough or intense itchiness caused by eczema? Well, your local pharmacist can help.

Paula Wilkinson, Chief Pharmacist at Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This time of the year can be difficult for those suffering from allergies. But there are many over-the-counter medicines that your local community pharmacist can offer to help ease the symptoms.

“Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals who can offer advice on many over the counter medicines to treat hay fever symptoms, such as antihistamines or nasal steroid sprays. Antihistamines block the action of the chemical histamine, which the body releases when it thinks it is under attack from an allergen. Corticosteroid nasal sprays relieve nasal symptoms, including sneezing and congestion, and may also relieve itchy, watery eyes. They are most effective if you start using them a couple of weeks before your symptoms begin, and work best when used regularly. Decongestants can also help to relieve a blocked nose, which is often caused by hay fever, a dust allergy or a pet allergy.

“If you’ve already seen your local pharmacist, tried to manage your hay fever with over the counter medicines but, you’re still struggling with persistent symptoms, make an appointment to see your GP. Remember the most effective way to control hay fever is to avoid coming into contact with the allergen if you can.

To find your nearest pharmacy click here and put your postcode in search box, along with the service you need.

For more information about treating allergies, visit nhs.uk/allergies.